Destroying that Which We Love Most
And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. Genesis 4:11-12
When we were kids, my family took a trip out East for a conference which my parents attended. This was the olden days when my siblings and I could safely play at a local stream during their meetings. While doing so one day, I found a discarded glass bottle which I smashed on the rocks along the stream because it was fun. I knew it wasn’t right and my siblings warned me against it, but I did it anyway. It was momentary entertainment, but I soon moved on, forgetting about it. I’d been instructed by my parents to keep my sandals on while playing in the stream, but in a rebellious mood, I discarded my footwear. Eventually of course, my bare foot found that previously shattered bottle. The pain, laceration, and bleeding weren’t my only punishments though. At the local ER, I was instructed not to swim for the next week, which meant I’d miss out on swimming in the ocean – which was to be the highlight of the entire trip. My stupid behavior caused me to lose that which was most important to me.
Years later, I did the same thing in my drug use. In my mind, my faith, family, and career were my greatest priorities. In my addiction though, I chose the drug above all, destroying everything good in my life.
This was Cain’s fate as well. In today’s passage, God sentenced Cain for the crime of murdering his brother. Cain had been a farmer, working the earth, yet he soaked that same earth with his brother’s blood. As punishment, God declared that from then on, producing food from the ground was going to be futile for Cain. That wasn’t all though. In murdering his brother, Cain severed his connection with his family and people. He was to spend the rest of his life as an outcast, wandering the earth. Indulging in his self-destructive anger, Cain wrecked everything good in his life.
We may not see it yet, but we do the same. In our addictions, we turn our backs on faith and family. In our pornography we destroy our marriages. In our anger, we damage our relationships with our children. Sin always hurts that which we love most, whether we appreciate that right now or not. If we desire life instead of misery, then daily, we must do whatever it takes to abandon our self-destructive behaviors, following God ‘s path of life, joy, and peace.